Is 80/20 Ground Beef Good for Dogs?

Ground beef can be a great addition to your dog’s diet, but there are some things you need to know before feeding it. The “80/20” refers to the fat content – 80% lean meat and …

is 80/20 ground beef good for dogs?

Ground beef can be a great addition to your dog’s diet, but there are some things you need to know before feeding it. The “80/20” refers to the fat content – 80% lean meat and 20% fat.

This higher fat content can cause some digestive issues if given too much or too often. If you’re looking for high-quality dog food and resources, you can check out a site like WeKnowYourDogs that specializes in this area.

What is 80/20 Ground Beef?

80/20 ground beef contains 80% lean meat and 20% fat. This gives it a higher fat ratio compared to leaner options like 90/10 or 95/5 ground beef. The added fat makes the ground beef more flavorful and moist. However, too much fatty meat can lead to pancreatitis and other health issues in dogs if fed in excess.

“80/20 ground beef can add flavor and variety to your dog’s meals, but should be fed in moderation.”

Nutritional Breakdown

Here is the nutritional breakdown for 4 oz (113g) of 80/20 ground beef:

  • Calories: 291
  • Fat: 23g
  • Protein: 19g
  • Iron: 2mg (11% DV)
  • Zinc: 5mg (36% DV)
  • Vitamin B12: 2mcg (32% DV)

80/20 ground beef provides high-quality protein and important vitamins and minerals. However, the fat content is also very high, even compared to fattier cuts of beef.

Is 80/20 Ground Beef Healthy for Dogs?

Feeding your dog 80/20 ground beef once in awhile is fine. However, it should not make up a large portion of their diet due to the high fat content. Here’s a closer look at the health implications:

Digestive Upset

Too much fatty meat can lead to gastrointestinal upset like vomiting or diarrhea. Dogs may also develop unpleasant gas or oily stools. These symptoms show their digestive system is having trouble breaking down all that fat.

Over time, a high-fat diet can also cause inflammation and disease in organs like the pancreas.


The pancreas produces enzymes for digestion. Excess fat forces it to overproduce these enzymes, causing pancreatitis – inflammation and swelling of the organ.

Pancreatitis is extremely painful and makes it difficult for dogs to digest any food, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and even death.

Obesity & Other Diseases

Feeding too much fatty meat long-term also promotes weight gain. Excess fat on the body can worsen arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic illnesses.

The bottom line? 80/20 ground beef should only be an occasional treat, not a dietary staple.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Ground beef by itself is not a complete diet. Like other meats, it lacks calcium and essential vitamins dogs need. Feeding it as a full meal can lead to nutritional deficiencies over time.

For balanced nutrition, ground beef should be mixed with dog food or foods like rice and vegetables. Never feed dogs straight ground beef or other raw meats without supplementing.

Feeding Guidelines

Here are some tips on feeding 80/20 ground beef safely:

✔️ 10% or less of daily calories

✔️ Mix with dog food or rice and veggies

✔️ Slowly introduce to test tolerance

✔️ Hydrate well to ease digestion

✔️ Store safely just like raw meat

Ideally, 80/20 ground beef should make up 10% or less of your dog’s total daily calories. This equals about 1 oz per 10 lbs of body weight per day. Any more may upset their digestion.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • 10 lb dog can have 1 oz 80/20 ground beef max
  • 25 lb dog can have 2-3 oz 80/20 ground beef max
  • 50 lb dog can have around 5 oz 80/20 ground beef max

These tiny portions should be mixed into their main meals – not fed plain. Slowly introduce small bits at first to test your dog’s tolerance. Stay hydrated and active to aid digestion too.

Note: Homemade diets require research on balancing nutrients. Work with your vet to meet your dog’s needs.

Answered Questions

Still have questions about feeding 80/20 ground beef to dogs? Here are some common queries:

Is 80/20 ground beef okay for puppies?

No, the high-fat content can harm growing puppies. Stick to plain lean meat without spices or sauce until 1 year old. Their digestive and immune systems are too immature to handle much fat.

Should it be cooked?

Absolutely! Raw ground beef carries bacteria that can seriously harm dogs. Cook all meat fully before feeding. Refrigerate promptly in shallow containers to prevent spoiling.

What’s best for small dogs?

Go even leaner for little breeds. They have faster metabolisms but smaller organs that struggle breaking down fat. Choose 95% lean ground meat instead of 80/20 to be safe.

Bottom Line

80/20 ground beef can add enjoyable flavor and nutrition variety to your dog’s diet. However, the high fat content means portion sizes must be restricted to 10% of daily calories or less.

  • Mix with dog food instead of feeding plain
  • Start with tiny portions to test tolerance
  • Cook fully and store properly to avoid illness

Feeding a little 80/20 ground beef is fine, but don’t overdo it! Stick to dog-friendly recipes and talk to your vet about any diet changes.

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